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Little Shop Update: Getting Comfortable in My Own Skin...er...Roots.  (Read 6862 times)
« on: August 03, 2017, 12:38:15 am »

I mentioned in the past the struggles I had with my production of Little Shop of Horrors, and how they went cheap on the puppets. Now that I've had a little more time with them, I've come with the solution of magnets to hold the plant's mouth shut while inanimate. I've worked with all three forms of the puppet that I control to learn how to make each kind comfortable for me to operate. Even though Pod 3 is literally falling apart from the inside every time I use it, I worked REALLY well with it today, especially, getting more syllables out of it ever before. This was accomplished by having more upper-lip movement than bottom-lip. I kept the bottom jaw stationary and just moved it with the head, until I would need to open wider, or speak with more enthusiam. This way, I could focus on the top jaw and get more words out with more syllables and I could also focus with the root tights, getting some good movement there. And Pod four, while massive and having more of a neck-strap than a backpack-esque thing going on, I still managed to operate it. I actually have a top-jaw man that sits behind me and operates the top jaw from the back, whilst I operate top and bottom using my whole body. However, I just give an up-motion with my body and focus more on the bottom jaw, using my foot to maneuver it better. Opening night is in two days, and I feel like I've made enough progress to be ready. I'm proud and I think I did pretty good for it being my first puppetry gig that I've ever had outside of puppet ministry. Thank you for everyone who gave me the ideas on manipulation and repairs! I used all of your suggestions and gave them a try!
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 07:21:05 am »

Good to hear it is working out for you.  I kind of felt bad I could not give you more precise direction, but it is hard when you don't know the actual puppet.  As I think you have figured out it some times takes just working with something and seeing what works. I've found this even with puppets I've built myself.  The more you play with them the more you figure out. Smiley

Break a vine!
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 10:51:06 pm »

Good to hear it is working out for you.
Thank you! Opening night went real well! So, have you had the experience to operate Audrey II at some point? Because you definitely know plenty about them! If so, tell me about the experience you had with what puppets you got and how you handled them to get the best out of them!
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2017, 06:04:22 am »

No I have not performed Audrey II in a performance but I helped engineer and build them for a performance at the Kansas City Repertory Theater.  I did do a lot of testing of the puppets though while building and we coached the actor how to manipulate them. While I am now in my second career in theater working wardrobe, I spent over 20 years building and performing puppets.  The basics of performing with different styles of puppetry are the same, it is really just a matter of practice and experimentation with each individual puppet to find it's unique abilities. My main love was marionettes but the company I worked with created and presented all forms of puppetry.
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2017, 12:00:36 pm »

I've always been interested in learning marionettes. I feel like that's an even more difficult level of puppetry. And I think that's amazing that you've been able to engineer and coach for some Audrey II puppets! It helps that a puppeteer is building puppets. This way, they're getting in the shoes of the person manipulating, trying to give it designs that work beset with the puppeteer!
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